Dog Park

ImageI was reluctant to take Abby to the dog park today because of all the horror stories I’ve read or heard. I hear about dogs getting viciously attacked requiring stitches and it scares the pants off of me. The fact that Abby’s recall isn’t solid doesn’t help either. But what I’ve learned from life is that sometimes… You gotta just go with it. 

The closest dog park is 20 minutes away from us and Charlotte traffic never treats me well. When we got there, I didn’t see any dogs and the area looked tiny. I could’ve sworn I read 4 acres for dogs… To me, it looked more like half an acre.

I kept Abby on a leash to ease her into the park. We sniffed around the area and as we approached the blind corner, there was more land and more dogs! I was happy we got a chance to meet other dogs, all different types. There was a Great Dane, Bernese Mountain Dog, Schnauzer, small and large. They saw us coming and I was hoping they were all friendly.

A few of them approached us, surprisingly calm and walking pace. The Great Dane took an interested with the bunch and they were all sniffing Abby. I know it could get out of hand in a split second so I was watching very closely and constantly praising Abby, “Good girl Abby. Good girl”. Her hackles were up but tolerating the other dogs as they exchanged sniffs.

I wanted to explore more of the park because it still didn’t seem like 4 acres and maybe there were more dogs. Wherever we went, the little Schnauzer kept following. He was so cute and friendly and Abby took a liking to him too. I came to find the entire park was in fact 4 acres. 

I thought off-leashing her would’ve been too soon for her so we went back to the area with no dogs. I did a few training commands then off leashed her. She ran all over at the speed of light! Then she charged towards the fence and I heard someone approaching. It was a lady and her Weimaraner. I was going to call Abby back but thought it’d be a good experience to see how this plays out. 

As they entered, I was surprised that Abby came and stayed by my side. The lady off-leashed her dog and it ran towards Abby. Being that this was our first time off leash with another dog, I was scared. Not for Abby but for the other dog. It stopped in front of Abby and looking from their body language, it was as if he was saying, “I bet you can run faster than you!”

Abby responded “No you can’t! Watch me!”

And they took off! Surprised by Abby’s great behavior, we stayed longer so she could enjoy this experience. Not too many people would allow their dogs to play with a German Shepherd Dog so I definitely took advantage of this opportunity. I was happy to see Abby enjoying herself with another dog. His name is Samson and he was as friendly as can be. I pet him and he licked me. Wow, I want another dog. lol. After a lot of running, they took a break under the tree and I poured her a bowl of water. Then Samson drank out of it. LOL. The owner was correcting Samson because he had his bowl of water out as well.

It’s too bad I didn’t take a pictures. Being that this was our first time at the dog park, I had to keep an eye on things so I couldn’t pull out the camera. Next time, I’ll be sure to take some pictures! Here’s Abby knocked out after a day of socializing. Image

11 thoughts on “Dog Park

  1. I would have been shitting bricks if Alfie went to a dog park. He is so wild right now that I wouldn’t trust him at all in that situation. Tonight when I was taking him out for a potty break, he saw a cat walking by a few yards away. He focused on that cat like his life depended on it and then exploded towards it. If I hadn’t been holding that leash firmly, he would have gotten away for sure. Wheatens are known for how much they love to jump and their bounciness so he has just discovered jumping on people, counters…anything.

    Abby looks adorable and you are doing awesome with her–especially since she is your first dog. I am not sure if I’m doing the right thing with Alfie but he seems ok so far. I am glad you had such a great first experience at the dog park.

      1. Well, he is getting his last round of vaccines on Monday so he’s not really able to socialize yet. It’s hard because I can’t really take him out to public places so he won’t catch anything. He did meet one poodle who was around 12 years old according to the owner. Alfie lunged at her and I grabbed him and turned him around so she could sniff him. He was still on edge but then he calmed down and he ended up licking her face once. He gets very fixated on things and it’s hard to break his concentration. He kills his squeaky toys. What do you do when Abby fixates on things?

      2. I’m not too knowledgeable about Wheatens but they are herding dogs so Abby could relate to him. Herding dogs usually have a high prey drive so that’s probably what he’s getting worked up about. I would practice some loose leash training. You can find many tips on youtube. If that fails, my trainer recommended me a prong collar. Abby pulled on a flat collar like her life depended on it. When she saw other animals, she pulled to the point where she was standing up heavily breathing from the tight leash holding her back. Once I got the prong, it was like magic. She would walk with all the slack loosely and observe other animals then walk away. It was miraculous. But it’s definitely the herding instinct that gives them a high prey drive.

        If Alfie knows a few obedience commands, use them around the animals. In my opinion, it helps keep the dog’s attention to you while still focusing on the animal. I still can’t do it around squirrels because they run so dang fast. lol. But we have a neighbor with dogs constantly barking at the sight of Abby. I take advantage of the opportunity. I have her do a few commands around their window, walk around the area, give her treats for tolerating the noise, etc… I hope this helps. Good luck and let us know how he’s progressing!

  2. I completely understand. Piccola has an intense prey drive (combo of Elkhound + Husky which makes it even crazier). I take her to the dog park here in Boone all the time and its always like playing Russian Roulette as to what kind of a day its gonna be. She never hurts dogs, just scares the smaller, more submissive ones with her intense playing.
    I have to travel to Charlotte and would love to take her with me, I was wondering if you could tell me the name of this dog park so I could take her when we go, it looks really nice.. thanks 🙂

    1. Do you live close to Charlotte? The park is really nice. It’s called William R. Davie park. Both large and small dogs are in the same area. It’s a really great place with lots of shade. I’m sure Abby would love to meet Piccola too!

      1. I’m in upper WNC in Boone, but I have to do a day trip to Charlotte this summer, so I was debating bringing her with me or putting her in daycare for the day. The park looked nice – is it free or do you have to buy a pass?

      2. That’s quite the drive! I’m astonished by how many North Carolinian blogger’s I’ve found now. But yes, the park is free. It’s one thing I love about most Charlotte parks is that they are free. I hear Boone has a lot of open trails for off-leashing. Any you would recommend?

      3. I’m not entirely sure about the trails for off-leasing because I can’t take Piccola off leash anywhere (gotta love free roaming huskies). I really enjoyed hiking Linville Falls and Glen Burney Falls with her (not sure about the leash laws there though). I let her swim off lead with other dogs in the large creek/river at Linville Falls.

        The Greenway Trail is nice as well, but don’t let your pup get in or drink the creek water on that one – they all seem to get sick when they do that.

        Thanks for the info on the Charlotte Park, if I can find doggy daycare there as well so I can do what I need to, I will definitely bring her with me!

      4. Oh, I remember Linville Falls. I went there on a school trip to the caverns. The trails were pretty long according to my memories (12 years old). lol. I loved the scenery. I’ll definitely have to go back there one day. Do you know if it’s free?

      5. There are 3 sets of trails that you can take, the 1st stop (waterfalls) only takes about 10 minutes to hike to, the next stop is about another 10 minutes after that and then the 3rd (top mountain view) is another 20 minutes from the 2nd falls. In my opinion the 3rd is not worth the hike, you get a much better view from the 2nd stop. It is actually one of the easiest hikes to do with my dog (minus one small section of “stairs” on the 2nd stop, but she still does well there too). It is free, it’s only the caverns that you have to pay to get in to and I don’t think you can take the pup in there.

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